Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/419

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Kasi or Banares, the most holy city of the Hindoos — a city well worth the pilgrimage of any one, Hindoo or English, merely to gaze upon. Here he became so famous from his many cures^ that, at last, a deputation of divine sages, or Munis, waited upon him to petition instruction in the divine art of Medicine. " Deign Sovereign Euler/^ these sages thus addressed Dhanwan- tari, " to bestow upon us the power of preventing and curing the many diseases under which mankind are suffering, afflicting their bodies, tormenting* their minds, and which, with the numer- ous accidental and natural diseases, distress them so much that they seem to be without friends. We pray that you will bestow upon us a work to instruct us in the causes, the nature and cure of diseases : for retaining health and for promoting the welfare of the soul in another world. Like scholars we come to receive the information from you.'^ The King-Doctor's answer was favorable. " Your wishes shall be granted," replied Dhanwantari, Sasruta ^^^ ^^® ^^ ^^® sages, Sasruta, son of Visamitra, a contemporary of Rama, was chosen to be the person to be instructed in medicine. The book which Sasruta, from the dictation of Dhanwantari, compiled, was an abridgement of the Ayur Veda, that itself being far too voluminous and heavenly for the present degenerate race of mankind : but if I understand my authorities correctly, Sasruta's work is still preserved, and is still a high authority among good Hindoos. I will not take up your time in describing the work at any length, but I wish to draw your attention to this curious fact, that the third book treats of Anatomy and gives a description of the body, and I learn from it that your present prejudice against dissection had no existence in those good old times when kings and sages were doctors. Sasruta enjoins that 'Hhe teacher shall seek to perfect his pupil by the appli- " cation of all expedients which he may think calculated to effect " his proficiency," and he gives directions for the use of instru- ments. Again he writes : " Those men who, in ignorance of the " human frame, venture to make it the subject of their experi- " ments are the murderers of their species." Charaka, who in the opinion of some is even more ancient than Sasruta, writes : " A Practitioner should know all "the parts of a body, both external and internal, " and their relative positions with regard to each other ; without " such knowledge he cannot be a proper Practitioner," What says Menu, your great Lawgiver : " Should a Brahmin touch a " fresh human bone, he is purified by bathing, and if it be dry, " by stroking a cow, or looking at the sun, having sprinkled his

  • ^ mouth duly with water." It is evident the great lawgiver